15 Ways To Take A Study Break While Still Being Productive

15 Ways To Make Your Study Break More Productive

Okay, I can’t be the only one whose 10-minutes study break always turns into a 40-minute tv show episode on Netflix. There’s nothing wrong with giving your brain a much-needed break, especially during finals week when people are literally camping out in the library—toothbrush and pajamas and all—but the annoying part is that when you get too side-tracked, you aren’t any closer to clearing off your lengthy to-do list. Besides that, there’s more to college students than just college…we’re also interns, photographers, business owners, tutors, poets, travelers and lots of other things. College ain’t the only thing on our plate.

Personally, I feel so overwhelmed when I watch the hours tick away while my projects and assignments still sit in my planner. It doesn’t feel like I’ve done anything fulfilling, although my brain feels like it’s been working nonstop. It’s like I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop for the last four hours just staring at the friggin’ screen! Sound kinda, sorta familiar?

Instead of scrolling through Instagram or Facebook on your next study break, try doing these five things that will actually help you get shit done, even when your nose isn’t in the textbook.

1. Learn something new from a podcast. 

Podcasts have been becoming super popular. They’re so easy to listen to while you have a spa day in your room or cook dinner at night. Some of them are really inspirational and can help you learn about the real world. The Classy Career Girl is a great podcast for millennials who want career advice and tips for building brand awareness.

2. Update your LinkedIn profile. 

There’s no time like the present to really spiff up your LinkedIn. LinkedIn is so easy to use that fixing things up won’t take you too long. If your profile is already super hireable, look for professionals to connect with.

3. Plan the trip you’ve been dying to take. 

Well, don’t plan out every last detail, but take some time to look into plane tickets, possible hotels and activities. Create a spreadsheet to stay organized so you don’t have to re-research everything again.

4. Update your financial tracker. 

For the last month, I did an experiment where I tracked every dime I spent, and it was super eye-opening. In fact, since I stopped keeping track of my spending, it makes me nervous to not know where my money is going, so I’m going to start tracking it again. Make your own tracker if you don’t have one, or Google a printable one.

5. Look for an internship. 

The internship search is actually really exciting, and kind of relaxing, oddly enough. You’re really just browsing around for possibilities so you can easily put on some music and chill while you do this. When you find a listing, save the link in a spreadsheet so you can come back to it later.

Related: 8 Organizational Tips To Conquer Your Job Search 

6. Read the news. 

It’s especially important to remain informed in today’s society. Download news apps on your phone so you can easily read about what’s happening when you have 10 minutes to spare. Also check out my post on the Best Free Apps For College Students for more useful phone apps.

7. Continue/start reading he book you’ve been dying to pick up. 

If you’re like me, then you probably have so many books that you’ve only read halfway. Use your study break to get a little further and read a chapter or two. I also find that reading books helps me re-focus when I feel like my mind is all over the place.

Read also: 5 Easy Ways To Make More Time For Reading Books In College

8. Do yoga or a mini workout. 

YouTube is a great way to find quick workouts that you can squeeze into your day. And, if you do them regularly, you’ll actually see results. Look for a quick, five or 10-minute workout video and follow along right from the comfort of your dorm room.

9. Learn how to make something. 

Learn how to make tonight’s dinner, or tomorrow’s breakfast. If you’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy, start watching an intro video—the ideas are endless. Just think of something you’d like to learn and get started on it while you take a break from math and English.

10. Call your parents. 

You’re probably going to have to call them at some point during the day or week, so why not do it now. Parents are great for giving you advice on dealing with your full plate, helping you get your life together, and talking shit about all the people who annoyed you that week.

11. Build a new playlist for studying. 

I love listening to music while I study, and most other people do, too. If you really can’t focus on studying for your exam, build a playlist that will help you out.

Related: The Ultimate Study Session Playlist

12. Plan tomorrow’s schedule. 

Take a few minutes to think about what obligations you have tomorrow—any meetings, coffee dates, assignment that still need to be completed, etc. Add them to the calendar on your phone or to your planner so you don’t forget.

13. Email your professors thanking them for a (hopefully) great semester. 

I think it’s important to send your professors a quick message to let them know how much you appreciated their expertise this semester. You never know when you might need to hit them up for a recommendation, after all. Even if the semester wasn’t incredible, just email them to thank them for their time and knowledge.

14. Make plans to see friends one last time before the break. 

The last week is usually hectic for everyone, but if you really want to grab coffee one last time or hang out with a friend before the week is over, take some time to message people for a meetup.

15. Look for new side hustles. 

There are lots of ways to make extra money while you’re in college, but they won’t wait for you to finish your finals. If you’ve always wanted to get paid to take photos or get paid to teach people math, look for the opportunities that will help you do that.

What are your tips for being productive even when you aren’t? 

How To Recover From An Unproductive Day

how to recover from an unproductive day

This past Saturday was one of the most unproductive Saturdays of my life. I laid in bed watching Facebook videos for most of the day, and while I was really cozy and content doing it, I knew that there was some important work that I would probably try to high tail it to finish on Sunday. I should probably actually call this post “How To Save Your Ass Before Monday.” But sometimes unproductive days are very much-needed, like when you’ve been running around all week and just want a day to be lazy. They’re sometimes good for your mental health, but bad for your GPA! You can’t go back in time and redo the entire day (oh, I wish!) but you can ensure you make a comeback so you can try to salvage what’s left of your good student rep before Monday.

1. Admit that you were unproductive.

The first step is to essentially admit that you screwed up. You had the entire day to study for Tuesday’s exam — there was nothing stopping you. You had enough sleep the night before, you ate well, you even got dressed to head to the library, but you just didn’t do anything. Netflix might’ve won that round. Now you can stop beating yourself up for screwing up and work towards preventing this from happening the next day.

2. Make a plan for tomorrow.

Create a to-do list in your favorite planner. This will help remind you of all the things you should’ve done today but didn’t have to do tomorrow. I like writing down tasks in the best order for doing them because it helps me stay on track; I don’t have to think about which of my 99 problems I should tackle next. My plan for the following day consisted of me going to the gym in the morning, coming back to my room for a shower and heading to my second home (a.k.a. Starbucks) to get work done for the rest of the day.

3. Get your sleep (but don’t sleep in!)

Sleeping adequately is crucial to ensuring that you have enough energy the next day to finish all the things you put off. However, be careful to not sleep in! I find that when I sleep in, I feel lazier during the day and therefore less likely to actually finish all the work I planned to do. Start your day off bright and early (sure, I guess 9a.m. can count as ‘early’). I know Sundays are ideal for sleeping until noon, but you can offset any early morning grumpiness using my tips for making mornings more exciting.

how to recover from an unproductive day

4. Put errands at the top of your list.

Gotta do laundry? Need to run to the pharmacy? Want to go to the gym? Complete all these first so you don’t have to worry about them later in the day. Plus, running errands are a good way to ease into your to-do list. Personally, this helps me stay on track with everything else I have to do because my mind is too distracted to jump right into studying first thing in the morning.

5. Get dressed up.

Get dressed up??? How will this help me be more productive??? If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking that you’d spend half a day alone trying to figure out what to wear, but hear me out. How many times have you thrown on a pair of comfy sweats and a workout top and then proceeded to chill in your room because you were already comfortable so you figured: why not get even cozier in bed? Your clothes can be pretty influential on your overall mood. I find that when I, as well as people I know personally, dress nicely — jeans, a nice top and nice shoes, business casual or like we’re going on a casual date — we tend to be in the mood for getting shit done and going out of our way to make things happen. Plus, it’s a good excuse to show off how cute you look to the rest of your campus. Take your wardrobe into account the next time you’re feeling unmotivated to work. I decided to do my makeup extra nicely to put myself in the mood for tackling homework.

6. Work with a group.

Don’t feel like struggling through chemistry alone? Hit up some of your friends and propose a study group. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, being in the company of other people who have to get shit done will help you get your shit done. I do this all the time — even though half my friends aren’t even Journalism majors. It’s just really nice to be around friends when I have to do something I don’t feel like doing.

Related: How To Have A Productive Library Study Session10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

What are your tips for being productive?